Interview – Andrea Superstein

By: Remington Fioraso

Andrea Superstein is a Montreal born, Vancouver based artist. Her music combines the jazz sound of the east and the indie scene of the west. She has been featured on a Women in Jazz compilation, has received international radio play, on top of being interviewed for a number of jazz publications. She was also invited to perform at the first jazz showcase at Canadian Music Week in 2012. Want to learn more about this east gone west jazz artist? Check out her social media below and keep reading this interview.

How was it working with Juno winning producer Les Cooper?

AS: Transformative. Les is a true mastermind. He brought a lot of amazing ideas to the arrangements, giving them interesting textures and layers. He pushed me way out of my comfort zone. We have very different processes when it comes to music making so Les really challenged me to trust my gut and just jump in. It was scary but in the end I think we came out with an amazing record.

Do you see a big difference in the local music scenes in Montreal and Vancouver?

AS: That’s a hard question to answer as I haven’t been involved in the Montreal scene for a very long time.

What kinds of things inspire you to write new songs?

AS: Inspiration comes from so many different places. “What Goes On” has a very obvious 1920’s jazz feel. I was listening to an “oldies” jazz sattelite radio station around the time that I wrote it so that inspiration was fairly obvious.

I’m often inspired by moods and feelings, which conjure up images in my mind. A lot of the universal themes: the struggles and challenges of relationships and love. That’s definitely a reoccuring one for me. The song “Just One Time” was inspired by a first date that I went on. We had a superr fun time, he walked me home. I was expecting a kiss or at least plans for a follow up but he just proceeded to (literally)run away, leaving me completely confused. I decided to use the experience as fodder for my music and voila! a song was born!

If you weren’t in music, what do you think you would be doing?

AS: It’s hard to imagine my life without music. I think being a casting director or producer would be really fun. Or something with kids, which I do a lot of already.

Do you see many differences between your EP ‘Stars’ and your previous album ‘One Night’?

AS: Definitely. One Night was my initial foray into the jazz world. It’s very “straight ahead” jazz. I’m still proud of it as a first record: it sounds great. But Stars is leaps and bounds ahead. There’s an obvious development of creative ideas and arrangements, more layers and a more urban, mature feel to it. It also sits on the fence between multiple genres: indie, jazz, pop which I like a lot. In some ways it’s more accessible even though people might have a harder time classifying its genre. There are also some original songs on it which I’m really proud of. It’s good to know that I’m continuing to grow and evolve as an artist. I hope that continues with future albums.

If someone hadn’t heard your music before, how would you describe it to them? What song would you suggest they listen to first?

AS: Indie Jazz is a great descriptor. I think some people are afraid of the word jazz, or they have a preconceived idea of what it is. In my experience, most people who hear the music for the first time really enjoy it and start to open their minds to what jazz can be. Ultimately the music is really accessible to people with lots of different tastes in music. I see this a lot at shows for example. One of my last concerts ranged in age from 12-70. That was very interesting to me.

As for a first song to listen to, probably “I Want to Be Evil”. It’s fun and sassy and has an amazing groove. It was written for Eartha Kitt (the original Catwoman). Who can’t get down to that?

Out of all of your songs, which is your favourite to perform live?

AS: Favourites change so often. I think right now, I’m really loving performing “I Love Paris” (which is not on the EP but will appear on the full length release sometime in 2015). Cole Porter was such an influential composer and I think the arrangement we have is so original and unique. It’s really special when I can dig really deeply into a song that so many people have covered or arranged and find a way to make it so different. I like to leave space during live performances to explore the song even further – that’s definitely where my jazz background comes into play. Essentially, we’re never performing this song exactly the same way and there’s a big open section where I can improvise vocally. I get really into it, almost like the song is enveloping me. It’s quite powerful and the audience can feel it too.

If you mean something from the EP, I also love performing “I Want to Be Evil”. It’s fun and sassy and has this great R&B/Amy Winehouse kinda vibe. I often quip that it allows me to express my true innermost feelings.

What can fans expect from the EP, ‘Stars’?

AS: An eclectic collection of unique songs that all work really well together even though they’re so different. Like a pack of Life Savers – a flavour for everyone.

What’s coming up next for you?

AS: I’m in the process of working out the details for a full length CD release sometime in 2015 and I’m also working on a cross-Canada tour for Spring/Summmer 2015. And I’m having a baby, so there’s that : )

At Canadian Beats we like to throw in a few fun questions to help people get to know you a bit better:

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

AS: Dogsledding in the Yukon – for sure!!

Where has your favourite place to perform a show been?

AS: Last year, I played in Kaslo, BC at the Langham Theatre. It was Earth Hour and the organizers asked if I would be open to playing an acoustic set in the dark by candlelight. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had as a performer. I really felt connected to the audience.

You’re stranded on a desert island, name three things you would want to have with you.

AS: My beau, a ukulele, a genie in a bottle

Favourite colour?

AS: turquoise

What is something your fans may not know about you?

AS: I once worked on a chicken farm.

Favourite concert you’ve ever been to?

AS: Toughie. Jamie Cullum at the Commodore in Vancouver was pretty mind blowing. I cried through most of it. It was all just so amazing.

If you were ever in charge of putting together a festival, who would you have playing at it?

AS: Paul Simon (because I dream of doing a duet with him one day), Jean Leloup, Chet Baker (if he were alive), Laila Biali, The Lemon Bucket Orchestra, Koop, Hannah Georgas, Pokey Lafarge, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Hawksley Workman, Michael Kaeshammer, Kellylee Evans, Regina Spektor, The Postal Service, Keane, Jamie Cullum, Melody Gardot, Balkan Beat Box, my friends.

What do you think your most played song on your iPod is?

AS: Probably These Arms of Mine by Otis Redding

What was the first CD that you bought?

AS: REM Automatic For the People

Any guilty pleasures?

AS: Chocolate. I’m so addicted, I used to eat the baking chocolate out of my mom’s pantry.

And finally, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

AS: You are all ridiculously amazing and wonderful people. Thank you for the love! Bisous. xoxo

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